You will have to forgive me for being a bit dark. COVID-19 is jangling my nerves and work, the pursuit of excellence and client satisfaction are not high up on my priority list right now, compared to more existential things like life, and survival.
I run a start-up called RoomOrders, and I shouldn't be so despondent. We enable contactless ordering and payment of goods and services, considerably reducing risks of viruses and bacteria. What I'm trying to say is, we actually help hospitality venues like hotels, resorts, and restaurants survive, and prosper - even in desperate times like Corona.
Ironically, our tagline is "... bringing your business into the Low Touch Economy." What is this gobal catastrophe if not a crash-course in going digital, contactless, frictionless, touchless?
And business has spiked. We're getting more calls than ever.
But, to be honest, my enthusiasm has been sapped recently. So has my energy. What good is it to be a product that helps restore guest confidence, when there are hardly any guests, or none at all?
What good is it to be a raincoat for somebody caught in a hurricane?
It's tough seeing our clients suffer - most of them are branded hotels, chains like Hilton, Marriott and Accor, which have been around for up to 100 years. Most have had to suspend business, some have had to close for good.
One famous would-be client closed for three months during the lockdown and within less than a month of the opening was forced to shut again, after several staff members contracted the Coronavirus.
I'm not convinced that having introduced RoomOrders in time would have staved off a COVID-19 flare-up there, even though it would definitely have reduced the risk of contamination. It would be smug to say, 'I told you so.' It would also be highly tenuous.
Is it unsavory to talk about the future of hospitality when everything is so uncertain when more vital things are hanging in the balance?
Friends and colleagues tell me it's not a crime to think of 'business as usual.' To some clients, we are a lifeline, a lifeboat to the digital era everybody is talking about.
It's true, I guess. Hotels, resorts, restaurants, bars, and cafes need a bellwether, a sense of direction of the winds.
Will things return back to normal? Is this the new normal?
Will people want to touch tablets, remote controls, landline phones, cash, credit cards ever again?
Will the fears of contact, interaction, engagement linger forever?
I don't know. It's probably best to hedge your bets. Be exceptionally thrifty. Invest in technology that is forward-thinking, anticipates future habits of guests and customers.
We are RoomOrders. For a zero investment fee, we digitally interconnect hospitality providers with their guests' smartphones, enabling contactless ordering and payment of goods and services. We don't know how life with or after Corona will look, but we can try to help as we are in this together.
If you find the strength to go on, we will be here, give us a call.